Multinational company International Green Structures (IGS) has today unveiled details of an innovative building technology that it is set to manufacture and deploy in Kenya.
This comes after Kenya was ranked fifth in a recent assessment which showed her potential to generate enough waste to construct nearly 90,000 square metres of housing a year, and enough living space for more than 3,000 people.
The new technology has the potential to add low cost housing a year from durable materials derived from farmers’ waste after growing rice and wheat. IGS is building a manufacturing facility in Thika town , in an initiative set to create thousands of new jobs building houses from agricultural waste that currently gets burnt.
“Every 3,000 structures built will create 1,391 jobs, in a holistic solution that creates new income streams for farmers, and uses world class technology to create low cost homes,” President and CEO of IGS Richard China
“Every 3,000 structures built will… create 1,391 jobs, in a holistic solution that creates new income streams for farmers, and uses world class technology to create low cost homes,” said President and CEO of IGS Richard China, while presenting a case study at the Affordable Housing East Africa 2015 Conference in Nairobi.
Mr China said 46million East Africans living in urban slums, as well as the regions 2 million Internally Displaced Persons’s and 1 million refugees were victims of a housing crisis that the country will now have the appropriate technology to address.
His case study of the economic impact of using rice and wheat waste to make high impact construction panels lays out the benefits for every 3,000 houses built of an extra 1.1 million dollars in income to farmers, 770,000 dollars in local transport, 26.4million dollars in additional local manufacturing, and 13.3 million dollars in construction earnings.
“The sum is 1,391 additional jobs, earning 27.5million dollars in wages, creating 4.5million dollars in socially responsible investments, and 19.2 million dollars -worth of lifetime benefits in job training, as well as 3,000 new homes,” said Mr China.
He confirmed that the opportunity in Kenya has been made possible through its rich agricultural industry and scale of production. Two of the major constituents of the new building materials are wheat and rice husks as they are the most widely grown crops in Kenya after maize.
Kenya was ranked fifth in a recent assessment which showed her potential to generate enough waste to construct nearly 90,000 square metres of housing a year, and enough living space for more than 3,000 people.
According to the 2009 economic survey, at least 300,000 people earn their living from rice production alone.
However, grown once a year, the crop can …suffer from climate swings, is expensive to produce, and suffers competition from imported rice, with farmers, further, vulnerable to middle men who buy their produce at very low prices.
Another challenge facing cereals farmers are delayed payments from cereal boards and mills these farmers often live in poverty, despite spending their time and resources on farming.
The IGS plan is expected to boast the earnings of most of the country’s smallholder rice farmers, who are distributed across four major schemes: Mwea in central Kenya and Ahero, Kano and Bunyala schemes in the western part of the country.
Despite producing almost 80 per cent of rice in Kenya, Mwea was ranked among the poorest constituencies in Kenya, with 44 per cent of its population living on less than Sh1239 a month, according to the Kenya Bureau of Statistic 2013 report.
Nyando constituency, which hosts the Ahero rice irrigation scheme that supports 15,000 people, has a poverty rate of 63 per cent, while 65.9 per cent of Budalangi constituency’s 66,723 population, where the Bunyala rice irrigation scheme is located, is extremely poor. The Bunyala scheme supports 10,000 households.
The initiative, which will see IGS set up manufacturing plants in rice and wheat belts in the country, is also expected to create jobs in the harvesting, transportation, manufacturing and construction sectors, positively impacting the social economic fortunes of the local population.
IGS Kenya President Julius Kamau Nyoike confirmed that plans are underway to launch the first manufacturing facility in Thika, which will source its raw material from local rice and wheat farmers.